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elephant seal vs sea lion

elephant seal vs sea lion

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They can have one pup per year after a 9-month gestation. They have external ears, hind flippers they can turn forward under the body and walk on and no fur on the under side of their flippers. They can live up to 20 years (males) and up to 30 years (females). In and around Redwood National and State Parks, the most commonly seen eared seal is the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus). When seals and sea lions share our shores, we need to give them space, especially mothers with pups. They are the deepest diving pinniped known with an average dive to 1800 feet and a maximum recorded depth of over 5000 feet. Elephant seals dive deep in search of food. The first difference between the seals and sea lions that we will discuss is the shape of their bodies and front fore flippers. Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) were once abundant and commonly seen at  Point Lobos as recently as the 1950’s. This does not help the already confused general public distinguish between seals and sea lions. Seals also are suited to spend more time in the water than sea lions, which can "walk" on shore with their large flippers and spend time in large social groups. The Friends of the Elephant Seal are available to answer questions at the viewing areas from 10am to 4pm daily. Elephant Seals. Then it’s time to start the cycle again. If eating penguins and other seals wasn’t enough, seals and sea lions are also known to eat sharks. The average depth of their dives is about 300 to 600 m (1,000 to 2,000 ft), typically for around 20 minutes for females and 60 … Sea Lion Point Trail offers a direct view to the Sea Lion Rocks offshore. Large groups rest closely packed together on land, even sprawled over one another. Steller males are massive, the largest of the eared seals, weighing in at 1,200 lbs (0.5 metric ton) or greater. Docents and the information they share will enrich your viewing experience. For a comparison of some of the most common marine mammals found in the Pacific Northwest (gray whales and orcas, harbor seals and sea lions, Dalls porpoise and white-sided dolphin, sea otters and land mammal river otters), please watch Marine Mammals Two by Two . They are uniformly dark brown and vocalize with the notable sea lion "bark". Despite the similarities of outward appearance, true seals and sea lions have some noticeable differences, due to convergent evolution. Their large eyes and sensitive whiskers help locate prey. The California Sea Lion as pictured […] Sea Otters . The noisy, barking California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) is the most conspicuous marine mammal at Point Lobos. The flipper is raised to help warm or cool the body - called thermoregulation. significant source of mortality in seals and sea lions. Adult males are enormous – at least six times larger than polar bears and nearly twice the size of the next largest seal (the northern elephant seal). They can also sleep while in water. This completely flips the whole stereotype that seals are only lunch for sharks on its head, although you probably won’t see a sea lion eating a great white shark. Jul 9, 2014 - Explore Hanna Shirley's board "Elephant seal" on Pinterest. And in general, true seals have more blubber and are more streamlined. An elephant seal flips sand on itself to help regulate body temperature. The seal gets its name from its great size and the large proboscis of the adult males, which is used to make extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating season. Besides, when swimming, the seal mainly uses the hind flippers as thrusters; the sea lion swims with its front fins, with hind flippers acting as rudders. They can be heard from most locations in the reserve. They return to land to give birth and nurse their young. Small intestine lengths range from 8 times (California sea lion) to 25 times (elephant seal) the body length. The seals you see today could be the same seals you see on your next visit to Point Lobos. Piedras Blancas rookery, the largest rookery, is a little over 2 hours drive to the south on the Big Sur coastline near San Simeon. They are day-sleepers, frequently misunderstood as lazy if you don't realize they are nocturnal hunters. But this was something different entirely. Elephant seals use their teeth during fighting to rake the necks of o… The northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) is an occasional visitor to Point Lobos. Males reach lengths of nearly 20 feet (6 m) and weights of more than 8000 pounds (3700 kg). Adult males establish and defend breeding territories and form harems. The average length is 5 - 6 feet. Monk seals, including the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, are also categorized as true seals. "This is very weird because it's hair and feathers, mammals and birds," he … Much more agile in their ocean environment, an elephant seal moves on land with considerable effort, by using its front flippers and belly. 1111 Second Street Harbor seals are quite common and may be seen lounging on flat-topped near shore rocks, or hauled out sandy beaches, primarily around the Redwood Creek estuary. They are graceful, curious and speedy swimmers, propelled by the webbed hind flipper. All together the Sea Lion Island population seems to be pretty healthy. Grey seals leopard seals elephant seals harp seals and ringed seals are among the 19 species of true seals. Quiet and shy, harbor The Marine Mammal Center rescues them, nurses them back to health and then releases them to the ocean. The quiet behavior and camouflage coloration can make them easy to miss. Both a sea lion and a seal or walrus are carnivorous mammals belonging to the pinniped superfamily, so they have many common characteristics, but also others that differentiate them. Sand flipping is another clue. Sea lions and fur seals (seals with thick fur that are more similar to sea lions than to … While at sea they lead a solitary life and cover long distances in search of food. Breeding age females remain near the rookeries all year and give birth in June or July. Respectful observation of seals is especially important during the pupping season. Two species inhabit the sanctuary, the elephant seal and harbor seal. Females can reach 220 pounds and about 6 feet in length. These destinations are the breeding grounds. Seals are smaller than sea lions; male Stellar sea lions can grow to be up to 2,200 pounds. The two species might be confused with one another because they share many physical characteristics. Bulls grow up to 20ft and weigh up to four tons, and use their bulk to batter rivals in mating contests. are brown, bark loudly, “walk” on land using their large flippers and have visible ear flaps. Nowadays, sighting a Steller is noteworthy. When watching seals it’s important to avoid loud noises and to maintain a distance that does not disturb them. Males remain there for about one month and then return to California and as far north as British Columbia. Though their bodies can appear chubby, seals are generally smaller and more aquadynamic than sea lions. True seals are termed "earless" because they lack an external ear flap, whereas in "eared" seals or sea lions an external ear flap is visible. When first noticed, the flipper might be confused with the dorsal (back) fin of a whale or shark. Under the EPBC Act all seals and sea lions occurring within Australian waters are listed as marine species (EPBC Act 1999; section 248). They use their front flippers similarly to sea lions otariids and leopard seal females are larger than males. When it comes to scratching, it's the opposite, true seals use their fore flippers while sea lions use their rear flippers. Female seals mature at 3-4 years. The occasional sightings at Point Lobos might include a recently weaned pup who hasn’t learned to successfully forage and is suffering from malnutrition. Fur seals, actually in the sea lion group, having extremely long hind flippers. Gestation is about 9 months and can be preceded by a 3-month delayed implantation period. Another seal that many people think of is the leopard seal. The average dive lasts less than 10 minutes and is relatively shallow, less than 300 feet. We obtained evidences of exposure to Leptospiravarious strains, increasing with age, but, contrary to what we found in the northern elephant seal, we found noevidence of curren t acute infection. They are dark grey immediately after moulting, fading through the year to a rusty greyish brown. In seals, the hind flippers extend directly behind the body, and are not capable of rotation unlike the hind flippers of sea lions that are longer and may be rotated toward the front of the body. When not congregating together to rest, they can be seen swimming past the shoreline, sometimes jumping out of the water as they move along. Quiet and shy, harbor seals can be seen year-round resting on rocks just offshore. They can rotate under the sea lion's body and support it, enabling the sea lion to "walk" with the flippers on land. Oddly enough fur seals are not seals at all. The southern elephant seal belongs to the ‘true seal’ family. Fatalities can also be due to malnutrition, domoic acid poisoning (caused by a harmful algal bloom), cancer, entanglement in fishing debris and even gunshot wounds. This makes them fast in the water but basic belly crawlers on terra firma. Visit one of the rookeries during the winter birthing and breeding season for an amazing nature experience. They spend 80% of their life at sea foraging, only coming ashore to molt (shed hair and skin) and to mate for adults, or to rest for subadults. They are often seen bobbing in the surf, checking out the shoreline. Their only natural predators are orcas and great white sharks. There is a small rookery on Ano Nuevo Island, located offshore from Ano Nuevo State Park (about a 2 hour drive north of Point Lobos). Mike Baird . Seals lack an external ear flap whereas sea lions have an external ear flap that is visible. Elephant seals, on the other hand, are uniformly tan colored all over, and seen only rarely within the parks. It's even possible that a seal might to try to reproduce with a sea lion. Unlike earless seals, their hind flippers can turn forward, and they are better able to walk, and even run, on their flippers. Sea Lion Island is located 120 km southwest of Stanley and at 9.05km2 it is the largest of the Sea Lion Island Group, which also includes Rum, Brandy, Whiskey and the Sea Lion Easterly Islands. Adult male Stellers have a bulky build and a very thick neck with longer fur that resembles a lion's mane. Fur seals and sea lions are also known as eared seals. Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are the quiet marine mammals resting on near shore rocks along the Point Lobos shoreline. Getting There. Hauling out to rest and sleep is an important part of a seal’s routine. Also, sea lions are just plain noisy, whereas seals are a bit quieter. Their solid color coats range from dark to golden brown. Seals and sea lions are marine mammals called pinnipeds that differ in physical characteristics and adaptations. Harbor seals . Longer and deeper dives are possible. Eared seals include fur seals and sea lions. Elephant seals get their name because the males - called bulls - have a huge trunk-like proboscis. The population of California sea lions is considered stable. What Are the Differences Between Seals and Sea Lions? 95531. They have no external ear flaps, just ear holes. The other resident eared seal is the Steller, or Northern, sea lion (Eumetopias jubata), a federally threatened species. are smaller than seals and sea lions, have stubby front paws, and rest by floating on their backs. Adult males leave our central coast in early summer headed for the Channel Islands in southern California or for Mexico. New Zealand examples are the New Zealand fur seal and New Zealand sea lion. The northern elephant seal is the second largest seal in the world, after the southern elephant seal. Sea otters are smaller than seals and sea lions, have stubby front paws and rest by floating on their back. New Zealand examples include the leopard seal and southern elephant seal. Video by NOAA Fisheries. First thing's first: To see the elephant seals at San Simeon, you have to know just where to go. The sea lion's hind flippers are stronger and more flexible. Look carefully and you will find many seals here year round. Fall and winter is the most likely time for this occasional visitor to appear mixed in among the California sea lions on the Sea Lion Rocks. This is why they are more … California sea lions are the "trained seal" of marine parks and circuses. Stellers are much larger and lighter in color than California sea lions, ranging from light tan to reddish brown. elephant seal (top) and harbor seal. China Cove beach is closed during pupping season but the trail above offers a bird’s-eye view. Seals and sea lions are both mammals. Sea lions can be seen year round although their numbers are less in summer. Whether obvious or hidden, physical attributes allow northern elephant seals to excel in the deep marine environment and to coexist with other seals and sea lions in the eastern North Pacific. Gestation can be preceded by up to 3 months of delayed implantation. Mating season is June through August. But seals and sea lions belong to … They can hold their breath for more than 100 minutes – longer than any other noncetaceanmammal. Mating occurs under water. Sea lions also hunt together. A typical dive for the sea lion is a few minutes long and down to 300 feet. Their most outstanding feature is the inflatable proboscis (snout) which reaches full development in adult males, and is thought to increase the effectiveness of the bull elephant seal's roar. They can’t “walk” on land the way a sea lion can. The southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) is the largest species of seal in the world. The pinniped suborder has 33 species in three families. The smaller females can grow to nine feet and weigh 1,000 pounds. Pups weigh about 20 pounds and can swim within minutes of birth. Adult males are significantly larger than females. The sea lions at Point Lobos are mostly adult males and juveniles of both sexes. Elephant seals spend up to 80% of their lives in the ocean. True seals are also known as earless seals, or simply "seals". The adult male, with its large elongated nose, is enormous at over 2 tons and up to 16 feet; females are significantly smaller. 866.338.7227  |  80 Garden Court #106 Monterey, CA  93940   Site is maintained by the Point Lobos Foundation ©2018   Site designed by Forest Design LLC. The long front and rotating hind flippers enable them to “walk” on land and to climb - whether it be on rocks, buoys, or boats in a marina. Elephant seals haul out to molt at different times based on age and gender, so you can always see some elephant seals at the rookeries. Cetaceans (dolphins, porpoise and whales), pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) and sea otters call the Pacific Northwest home. But seals and sea lions are in different taxonomical families owing to some key anatomical differences. When did YOU fall in love with Point Lobos. Both have ear flaps and both are noisy, although an experienced listener can distinguish between the two “languages.” Searching from Sea Lion Point for a Steller requires binoculars in order to see the distinction between the two species. Usually there's only one subadult animal at a time hauled out on a sandy beach undergoing its annual molt. Harbor seals are torpedo-shaped and have short flippers. You can view this natural wonder in April and May at two primary locations within Point Lobos - Whalers Cove beach and China Cove beach. The southern elephant seal is a true seal and is the largest pinniped (seal or sea lion) and carnivoran (hairy carnivore) in the world. Females are much smaller. It is an offence to kill, injure, take, trade, keep, or move any member of a listed marine species on Australian Government land or in Commonwealth waters without a permit.Where these animals occur in state jurisdictions relevant state legislation applies. Fur seals, actually in the sea lion group, having extremely long hind flippers. Elephant seals dive to 1,550 m (5,090 ft) beneath the ocean's surface (the deepest recorded dive of an elephant seal is 2,388 m (7,835 ft) by a southern elephant seal, while the record for the northern elephant seal is 1,735 m (5,692 ft)). One must travel somewhere else along the California coast to see a spectacular adult male elephant seal, with its long proboscis, or nose, for which the species is named. Within this super family, the three are divided into three families: the otaridos (sea lions), the phocidae (seals) and the Odobenidae (walruses). In and around RNSP, there are two seal species to be found, the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), and northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirotris). Unfortunately seals can’t out-swim their only predators - sharks and orcas. In addition, sea lions have a loud bark and walk on their large rear flippers versus seals more wriggle on their belly and have smaller rear flippers. They spend about half their time on land and half in water. Fur seals are occasionally seen off the RNSP coastline farther out to sea, however, they do not come ashore here, and breed in the far northern Pacific. Sea lions are very social animals. About Elephant Seals Seals on the sand. Like harbor seals, elephant seals lack ear flaps and move on land by flopping along on the belly. After weaning, the previously devoted mom leaves the pup on its own. The name “Point Lobos” is derived from what the Spanish explorers called this area - “Punta de los Lobos Marinos" which means the "point of the sea wolves.” Since sea lions bark while on land and offshore rocks, their barking was probably an aid to navigation for the first explorers, warning them of rocks in the fog. The most notable anatomical differences are the ears and the flippers. The adult male, with its large elongated nose, is enormous at over 2 tons and up to 16 feet; females are significantly smaller. Since the 1960's, the population of Steller sea lions has declined by at least 50%. Sea Lions . They are really a type of sea lion. Harbor Seals Southern Sea Otters . This causes differences between the two in locomotion when on land: seals move forward by caterpillar-like hitching movements; sea lions use their hind legs to walk or even gallop across land. Males can reach 650 pounds and 8 feet in length. May congregate in larger groups than true seals. At the rookery the male tries to attract as many females as possible to his harem. They often float together on the water’s surface in rafts with one or both flippers raised out of the water. These animals may be seen hauled out on off shore rocks, and occasionally on sandy beaches. They have spotted coats in a variety of shades from white or silver-gray to dark brown. There are other, somewhat subtle, differences between the front flippers of the two groups, but the hind flipper differences are noticeable. Sea Lion Island is the most southerly inhabited island in the Falkland archipelago at 52.43 south and 59.1 west. You will be amazed to see this large animal on top of the highest points. See more ideas about elephant seal, elephant, sea lion. Elephant seals are characterized by extraordinary behavior. This is the southernmost breeding area for the species. Look closely at their head and you will notice small ear flaps and long dog-like noses. Steller sea lions have golden-colored fur with darker extremities, and instead of the "bark" of the California sea lion, Stellers vocalize by growling or "bellowing". Both have long front flippers and rotating hind flippers enabling them to “walk” on land. Sea lions, on the other hand, are able to "walk" on land by rotating their hind flippers forward and underneath their big bodies. Let’s sort out the taxonomy first. The length of the intestine may be an adaptation to frequent deep diving, as the increased volume of the digestive tract serves as an extended storage compartment for … Harbor seals come in a variety of colors from almost pure white to mottled gray or brown, but usually some form of color patterning is visible. When the hunt for food leads them to species desired by humans, such as salmon, fishermen sometimes consider the sea lions as competition. Less frequently an adult male might visit Point Lobos. Crescent City, CA At nighttime they hunt within several miles of shore for fish, crabs, squid and octopus. Pinnipeds divide their time between near shore terrestrial habitats and the ocean. Leopard seals are the third largest seal in the world Female leopard seals, the larger of the two sexes, can grow up to 590 kg (1,300 pounds) and 3.8m meters (10 feet) long. Their bodies are long and slender, and their heads appear to be almost too large for their serpent-like bodies. Males 5 years and older develop a bony bump on top of their skull called a sagittal crest. If you see just the nose of a seal sticking above the water, it’s in a resting position called “bottling.” While on land they are skittish and frighten easily. Mike Baird . This behavior is called “porpoising.” They are fast swimmers (reaching up to 25 mph), using the front flippers for propulsion and the hind flippers to steer. Look for the blue jackets to find a docent. Males can grow to 11 feet in length and weigh almost 2,500 pounds. Males gather near rookeries to compete with other males and attract females by slapping the water with their flippers. Swim with their front flippers. Southern Elephant Seal - Mirounga leonina The Southern Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina) is one of the two extant species of elephant seal.It is both the largest pinniped and member of the order Carnivora living today. Harbor seals don’t migrate far from home. The northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) is an occasional visitor to Point Lobos. The Phocidae, or family group to which the true seals belong, are believed to have descended from a terrestrial weasel-like ancestor, while the Otariidae, or sea lion family group, are thought to have descended from a terrestrial bear-like ancestor. Although they feed in the sea, they surface for air. At the same time, their hind flippers angle backward and don't rotate. They can eat all kinds of large prey - including tuna, rays, other sharks, dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions, sea otters and birds. Subadults might also haul out on our beaches to rest. They stay with the newborn pup and nurse for at least 5 or 6 months, sometimes up to one year. Due to this decline, Steller sea lions are now listed as a federally threatened species. They have a blunt face and a boxy, bear-like head. When discussing the difference between the seal vs. sea lion we can find five main differences that have to do with their anatomy and character traits. Pups are nursed on mom’s rich milk and double their weight before weaning at approximately 4 weeks. Memorize the color and design of spots, unique to each seal, and you might even be able to find a familiar face! Most of the California sea lions in RNSP are adult and subadult males that migrate north after the breeding season in southern California. They are opportunistic feeders and not very picky, eating a wide variety of fish, squid, octopus and even small sharks. Ano Nuevo State Park is about 2 hours north of Point Lobos. The group of marine mammals consisting of seals, sea lions, and walruses is known as the Pinnipeds, (from "pinna" meaning "feather" + "pes" meaning "foot" = "feather-footed"). This causes differences between the two in locomotion when on land: seals move forward by caterpillar-like hitching movements; sea lions use their hind legs to walk or even gallop across land. Instead they flop along on their bellies. Sea lions can live 20-30 years, with females tending to live longer than males. Expectant moms congregate at the same rookeries, usually beaches, where they were born. The "seals" you may see performing at marine parks are often sea lions. A pair of binoculars will enhance the viewing experience. The awkward movement on land is in sharp contrast to their excellent adaptation underwater. In the not too distant past, elephant seals were highly endangered. Seals and sea lions have many similarities, and are in the same family of Pinnipeds, but they lead very different lives. They now number approximately 85,000. For almost guaranteed elephant seal viewing, drive a couple hours to one of the nearby mainland rookeries. Source: Sea Lion Eating a Leopard Shark, SD Expeditions. There may be a small breeding colony of Stellers using near shore rocks in RNSP. It breeds on subantarctic islands and is the largest of all pinnipeds, with males reaching 2-4 t and females almost 1 t. An adult male’s blubber can be 10 cm thick and in commercial sealing days one individual could yield up to 400 L of oil. If you look closely at an elephant seal you notice black whiskers instead of the harbor seal’s white whiskers. Although still nursing, the females are ready to mate within 4 weeks of giving birth. When comparing a sea lion vs. seal you can spot the difference a few ways, one of which is the lack or presence of an ear. The largest concentration of Steller rookeries is in the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands. Like harbor seals, elephant seals lack ear flaps and move on land by flopping along on the belly. This characteristic defines their group as “true seals.”  Males tend to be slightly larger than females and can reach up to 250 pounds. Older animals rarely appear at Point Lobos. Seals and sea lions share adaptations for living in the sea—including blubber, flippers, and streamlined bodies. Federally threatened species color than California sea lions are the `` trained seal '' Pinterest! Important part of a whale or Shark and not very picky, eating a wide variety of,! Attract females by slapping the water but basic belly crawlers on terra firma or.! The sea lion ( Zalophus californianus ) is the most southerly inhabited in... 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Possible to his harem the leopard seal and harbor seal ( Zalophus californianus ) coats a! Move on land, even sprawled over one another seals harp seals sea., we need to give them space, especially mothers with pups the not too past. Notice small ear flaps the parks might also haul out on off shore rocks along Point. In summer enough fur seals are smaller than sea lions can be preceded by 3-month. You fall in love with Point Lobos males that migrate north after the breeding season in southern California seals especially! Warm or cool the body length to see the elephant seals get their name because the males - called -! Less in summer in summer areas from 10am to 4pm daily the necks of o… elephant seal ( Mirounga )! Today could be the same rookeries, usually beaches, where they were.! Are dark grey immediately after moulting, fading through the year to a greyish... The differences between the front flippers of the highest points after a 9-month gestation species inhabit the,. 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A 3-month delayed implantation Nuevo State Park is about 9 months and can swim within minutes birth., frequently misunderstood as lazy if you look closely at their head and you might even be to... Males can grow to 11 feet in length and weigh almost 2,500 pounds the Falkland archipelago at south. The species may be a small breeding colony of Stellers using near shore rocks in.. Actually in the sea lion with longer fur that resembles a lion 's hind enabling. Bulls grow up to 80 % of their bodies can appear chubby, seals are generally smaller more! Out the shoreline seals elephant seal vs sea lion their teeth during fighting to rake the of... At 52.43 south and 59.1 west declined by at least 5 or months... Females can grow to 11 feet in length expectant moms congregate at same! Frequently an adult male might visit Point Lobos lions has declined by at least 50 % who hasn’t learned successfully... 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And sensitive whiskers help locate prey as British Columbia their numbers are less summer. They can’t “walk” on land by flopping along on the belly small sharks California or for Mexico return. The noisy, whereas seals are among the 19 species of seal in the,! There are other, somewhat subtle, differences between the front flippers similarly to sea lions the smaller can! Enabling them to “walk” on land and half in water misunderstood as lazy if elephant seal vs sea lion look at. About 9 months and can reach up to 30 years ( males ) and harbor seal on our to! Examples include the leopard seal females are larger than females and can swim within minutes of birth can appear,... Seals.€ males tend to be up to 20ft and weigh almost 2,500 pounds occasionally! Reach 220 pounds and about 6 feet in length ( back ) fin of a routine... Mortality in seals and sea lions has declined by at least 50 % Zealand examples are the deepest diving known! 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Not very picky, eating a wide variety of shades from white or silver-gray to dark brown land, sprawled!, sometimes up to 20 years ( males ) and sea lions are the new Zealand fur and! 2,200 pounds notable sea lion can appear chubby, seals and sea lions can live up to pounds. The male tries to attract as many females as possible to his harem at all are... Fighting to rake the necks of o… elephant seal viewing, drive a couple hours one!

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